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I am working on a campaign in 3.5e, and the big baddy is a hellfire warlock. When the players are going through the campaign, I am guessing they will be around level 4 at this point. There is an NPC at level 15 to even the playing field a bit.

Does an antimagic field cancel out an eldritch blast?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bit tangent to main question, but please read gmpc tag - GM driven 15-lvl ally helping 4th level players to overcome combat encounters raises huge warning flag. \$\endgroup\$ – Artur Biesiadowski Aug 20 at 9:21
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Eldritch blast is a spell-like ability, which means it cannot be cast while the warlock is within the antimagic field, and the beam itself is suppressed within the field, so it cannot hit a target within the field. As normal, the blast is not blocked by the field, so a warlock outside the field could cast eldritch blast through the field to get a target on the far side of it.

Hellfire blast does not change any of this.

Vitriolic blast is a greater eldritch essence invocation, and converts eldritch blast to an SR: No acid-damage conjuration. It isn’t specifically called out, but instantaneous SR: No conjuration (creation) spells like acid splash can be cast into antimagic field by a caster outside of it. The logic here is that the magic creates and propels some physical substance, like acid, from there after it’s just physics and chemistry—nothing antimagic field can interfere with. I have always rules that vitriolic blast operates in the same manner and has the same benefit. And every warlock with greater invocations and any interest in blasting should have vitriolic blast, regardless of your ruling, for dealing with SR.

Anyway, it’s not immediately clear whether you can apply hellfire blast and vitriolic blast at the same time, or what happens if you do. Certainly, hellfire blast sounds similar to an eldritch essence, but it never actually says it is one or that you cannot also use one on the hellfire blast. But even if you do, can vitriolic blast turn hellfire into acid? Does it still deal the extra damage if you do? Officially, the answer is “yes,” because nothing nixes that combination and ordering, but it’s worth thinking about.

Finally, a note on balance—the warlock class is vastly weaker than anyone who can cast antimagic field. Be careful about trying to counter the warlock in the name of “balance”—it is already on the weaker side. That said, casting antimagic field is almost-always a self-nerf—it covers a small area, which must include you, who by definition are a high-level spellcaster. Your enemies can easily stand outside it and pelt you with arrows, or those aforementioned instantaneous SR: No creation spells.

But all of that is irrelevant because 4th-level characters cannot meaningfully play the game alongside or in opposition to 15th-level characters. Actually, they’d have a really hard time contributions meaningfully with or against 7th-level characters, and you want to more than double that. This will not be an encounter, this will be a cutscene. Which, in my opinion, doesn’t make got a great gaming experience, though YMMV.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The language of hellfire blast very strongly implies that hellfire blast is an eldritch essence invocation and would only be compatible with blast shape invocations. That is because only eldritch essence invocations change the name and effect-on-targets of an eldritch blast, while blast shape invocations do not change the name and simply adjust the area of effect or targets of an eldritch blast. \$\endgroup\$ – Wannabe Warlock Aug 20 at 2:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ So does vitrolic blast work in a similar way to brimstone blast and hellrime blast then? \$\endgroup\$ – irishtatertot25 Aug 20 at 12:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I'm being a bit slow this morning, but what does SR mean? I'm pretty sure I've never come across that abbreviation before. I want to guess 'Saving Roll' but that doesn't really fit with the third usage, grammatically. \$\endgroup\$ – Phlarx Aug 20 at 14:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phlarx Spell Resistance \$\endgroup\$ – phyrfox Aug 20 at 15:00
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    \$\begingroup\$ @irishtatertot25 Yes, brimstone blast, hellrime blast, and vitriolic blast are all eldritch essences, and work the same way. Hellfire blast certainly sounds like another essence, but it doesn’t actually say it’s another essence, so there is a DM ruling to be made there. Also, I really do think this is a bad idea; I really hope you do consider my final concerns. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 20 at 20:42

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